Todt elected as FIA president

todtJean Todt has been elected President of the FIA for a four-year term by the FIA General Assembly at its annual meeting in Paris.

The FIA membership voted as follows:

For Jean Todt: 135
For Ari Vatanen: 49
Abstentions/invalid votes: 12

Voting in the General Assembly was made by secret ballot. The votes were counted in private by the FIA legal department, under the supervision of scrutineers proposed by the two presidential candidates and designated by the General Assembly.

The entire voting procedure was supervised by an external Huissier de Justice (French state-appointed public witness).

The following were also elected as part of Mr Todt s candidacy list:

President of the Senate
Nick Craw, President, Automobile Competition Committee for the US (USA)

Deputy President Automobile Mobility & Tourism
Brian Gibbons, Chief Executive, New Zealand Automobile Association (New Zealand)

Deputy President Sport
Graham Stoker, Council Chairman, Motor Sports Association (UK)

Senate Members

Hernan Gallegos Banderas, President, Automovil Club del Ecuador (Ecuador)

HH Tunku Mudzaffar bin Tunku Mustapha, Chairman, Automobile Association of Malaysia (Malaysia)

S.H. Rudolf Graf von der Schulenburg, President, Automobilclub von Deutschland (Germany)

Carlos Slim Domit, Patron, Asociación Mexicana Automovilistica (Mexico)

Jainchang Yan, Deputy President, Federation of Automobile Sports of China (China)

Mobility Vice Presidents

Carlos Barbosa, President, Automovel Club de Portugal (Portugal)

Victor Dumot, President, Touring and Automobile Club of Paraguay (Paraguay)

Ignacio Gonzalez Fausto, President, Asociación Mexicana Automovilistica (Mexico)

Gus Lagman, President, Automobile Association Philippines (Philippines)

Franco Lucchesi, Delegate to the FIA, Automobile Club d Italia (Italy)

Jorge Rosales, President, Automobile Club of Argentina (Argentina)

Danijel Starman, President, Avto-moto zveza Slovenije (Slovenia)

Sport Vice Presidents

José Abed, President, Organizacion Mexicana del Deporte Automovilistico Internacional (Mexico)

Michel Boeri, President, Automobile Club de Monaco (Monaco)

Morrie Chandler, Honorary President, MotorSport New Zealand (New Zealand)

Enrico Gelpi, President, Automobile Club d’Italia (Italy)

Carlos Gracia, President, Real Federación Española de Automovilismo (Spain)

Mohamed ben Sulayem, President, Automobile and Touring Club for United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Surinder Thatthi, Automobile Association of Tanzania (Tanzania)

FOTA welcomes Jean Todt to the FIA Presidency

The Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) today congratulated Jean Todt on his victory in the FIA presidential election, and welcomed him to his new position. Both Chairman, Luca di Montezemolo, and Vice Chairman, John Howett, congratulated the former Ferrari Team Principal.

Speaking after the result of the election had been announced in Paris, FOTA Chairman Luca di Montezemolo said: “I would like to send my best wishes to Jean Todt in his new role, as I have always appreciated his ability, dedication and commitment. I am sure that, under his guidance, the Federation will be rejuvenated and will restore a climate open to dialogue and constructive collaboration with the teams and FOTA, thus ensuring stability of the regulations and the whole environment”.

“Formula One is about to embark on a new phase: all the stakeholders must work together with an eye to the future, to increase the credibility and interest generated by this sport, tackling the technical and environmental challenges that await it, while keeping unchanged, those characteristics that have made it one of the most popular disciplines on the world stage”.

FOTA Vice Chairman John Howett added: ”I extend my best wishes to Jean Todt as he takes on this demanding but crucial role. I am convinced that Jean Todt s presidency represents an opportunity for all Formula One s stakeholders to unite under his leadership and work together to strengthen our sport. FOTA is looking forward to supporting him to broaden the appeal of our sport among fans and sponsors while respecting Formula One s great heritage to which he has contributed enormously.”\

Source: FOTA

Q and A: Toyota’s Kamui Kobayashi

After his epic scrap with Jenson Button in Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix, Kamui Kobayashi spoke to the Toyota F1 Press Team:

How much notice did you have that you would be racing in Brazil? Were you well prepared?
I was told almost a week before while I was in Japan for a fan event so I had a few days to prepare. That was more time than I had in Suzuka when I had less than two hours to get ready for practice! I felt quite well prepared when practice started because I had worked hard with the team to in the previous few days to confirm everything. And the experience at Suzuka was quite helpful as well because at least I had the chance to get a feel for the car as it is now, because it has changed and improved a lot since my last tests with it in February.

Were you excited or nervous when you heard the news?
I was definitely excited but not really nervous. As a racing driver you have to be confident otherwise you make more mistakes; and I am confident. I knew the weekend would be a big challenge, probably the biggest challenge I have had in motorsport, but there was no reason to be nervous. I really believe that if you are going to be successful in anything, you have to be confident so that’s how I approached the weekend.

How did you learn the track?
I had a basic knowledge of the lay-out from playing video games but that doesn’t help a lot; basically I was starting from scratch. The first thing I did when I got to Interlagos on Wednesday was to take a scooter around the track for a few laps just to understand more about each corner. Still, it doesn’t replace the experience of driving properly around the track so really I was learning the track on Friday. Even though it is a short track, it is a difficult one to learn so I tried different lines and different braking, that kind of thing, to find what was best.

Did the conditions cause a problem?
Ideally I wanted to have plenty of time on a dry track to really understand the tyres and push as hard as possible but the rain made that difficult. It would have been easier for me to have had some reference to how the track is in completely dry conditions. Still, our pace in the wet was pretty good.

How would you describe your first Formula 1 qualifying session?
Difficult! I think for all drivers it was hard because there was so much water on the track and the car was aquaplaning lots. A few drivers had accidents which shows how tough it was and I was a little concerned about the conditions; my priority was to just not make a mistake. But on top of that there was a very long delay so we had to keep concentration and really focus for almost three hours. It was tough for everyone but the team made the right choices when conditions were changing so I was on track at the right time and with the right tyres.

Were you happy to qualify in 11th?
In the end 11th was a really good result for my first qualifying session in Formula 1 so I was pleased with it. It would have been a perfect result to get into the top 10 but I knew that would be really difficult for my first Grand Prix. Still, I was a little frustrated to miss out on Q3 because I made a small mistake right at the end of Q2 on the intermediates; I was so close to the top 10 and I think I could have made it without that.

How did it feel to sit on the Formula 1 grid for the first time?
It was an amazing feeling because that has been my ambition since I was a little kid. To sit there and have Fernando Alonso just next to me and the world championship leader just behind me on the grid was a bit of a surprise but definitely a good feeling.

How was the race in general?
It was a tough race for a few reasons. It was longer than I am used to so it was physically demanding but also there are lots of new things to experience for me in terms of Formula 1; race pit stops, the way the car behaviour evolves during the race and managing the two different tyre compounds. I can still improve but I learnt a lot in this race.

What about the fight with Jenson Button?
I was trying really hard to keep him behind as I was running in the top six so I knew there was a chance of points. It wasn’t easy; he was very fast and I was driving the track in hot weather for the first time. Obviously he was fighting for the championship so I was careful not to cause a big problem but at the same time this race was a huge opportunity for me and I wanted to finish as high as possible so I fought hard for the position. I think it was exciting for the fans and I enjoyed it too.

Were you happy to finish in the top 10?
Overall I am pleased to finish my debut and in the top 10 as well because these were difficult circumstances. However, after the first lap I was in sixth so I had an opportunity to score points; in a way I am a bit disappointed that I didn’t do that. But I struggled a bit with the car balance after the first pit stops so I lost a bit of time and that dropped me out of the points. That was probably just a result of my inexperience over a Grand Prix distance; everything was new to me this weekend. In the end I think finishing in the top 10 on my debut was a good result, so I am pretty happy.

How did the team react?
The team were really supportive all weekend and they helped me a lot to adapt to the situation. I think they were happy with the result and with my performance. I had quite an exciting race with a few battles against other drivers so probably that made the race quite interesting for everyone!

Has this given you more of a taste for Formula 1?
I definitely enjoyed the experience and I think I got better and better throughout the weekend. Of course it would be great to race again in Formula 1 but that’s not for me to decide. We’ll see what happens and I’ll be ready for any opportunity.

Vatanen withdraws court application after FIA meeting

FIA presidential candidate Ari Vatanen, satisfied that Friday’s election will be run fairly, has withdrawn his legal action against the FIA.

Vatanen, who will go up against former Ferrari team boss Jean Todt to replace Max Mosley, echoed member clubs’ concerns that their vote would not be secret. He went so far as to start legal action to ensure a fair election.

Following a meeting chaired by Mosley, both Vatanen and Todt have agreed to the following elements of the election procedure:

– The presidential elections will be supervised by a Huissier de Justice throughout the entire procedure.

– There will be a private voting area for marking ballot papers available for those voters who would like to use it.

– Each candidate, along with their speakers in support, will be given an opportunity to present their case to the General Assembly for a maximum of 15 minutes. Mr Todt and his team will take the floor first.

Welcome home Jenson

Jenson Button received a hero’s homecoming on Tuesday as he arrived back in the UK after winning the 2009 F1 World Championship with a nail-biting charge to fifth place in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The 29-year-old flew in from Saul Paulo overnight and was whisked to a promotional event at Kent’s Bluewater Shopping Centre where he described how it felt to be crowned champion.

“It s quite surreal,” the British driver told reporters. “I got off the plane and came straight here. It s been an emotional flight back. This weekend has been pretty special for me and everyone who has been involved since the start of my career.

“I ve spent 21 years racing with this goal in mind, which I have now managed to achieve.

“We re not going to forget about this for a long time. Every morning I wake up, until next season, I m going to have a smile on my face. I ve had a difficult time of it in the past.

“It s about staying strong in the difficult times. You need good people around you to keep you positive and keep your feet on the ground. I ve made mistakes along the way but I ve put them right and I think people appreciate that.”

Button also confirmed that he is in negotations with Brawn to stay with the team in 2010.

“The most important thing for my career is to be in a competitive car, and this year I ve had that,” he said. “I m not looking for a new team. I want to be with Brawn.”

“We just haven t discussed it during the season. And it was right not to do so because we had to focus on winning a world championship. Now we can sit down and discuss it a bit more.”

Button clinches title in Brazil!

button5Button has his moment at last

The rendition of We are the Champions that Jenson Button screeched to his team on the radio as he finished the Brazilian Grand Prix in fifth place to become the 2009 F1 World Champion would have had Queen wincing; such was the combined effect of sheer exultation and disbelief on his already croaky voice.

It came after an altogether more assured performance as the 29-year-old clawed his way from fourteenth on the grid to fifth, courtesy of some breathtaking passing manoeuvres under pressure, a searing pace when he needed it, and a little bit of champion’s luck, to become the tenth British driver to win the world championship he joins Mike Hawthorne, Graham Hill, Jim Clark, John Surtees, Jackie Stewart, James Hunt, Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill and Lewis Hamilton in the history books.

Button’s critics will no doubt point to the second half of the 2009 season where having won six of the first seven races he started to race more conservatively losing points to the on-form Barrichello as reason to question his place alongside the aforementioned greats.

But it was precisely that controlled aggression that had proved so pivotal in the second half of his campaign that enabled him to triumph in Sau Paulo where all around him others were falling off the track.

The chips were not only down but looking increasingly flimsy going into the penultimate race of the season. Button emerged from a chaotic rain-delayed qualifying hour in fourteenth place while his teammate and championship protagonist planted his Brawn on pole position, much to the delight of the home crowd.

And he must have been wondering if the gods were on his side in the opening few laps of the race as incident after incident shook up the field around him in what must have seemed like some kind of perverted higher level plan to set him up to fail.

Collisions and tangles galore, cars getting set on fire, a safety car, and off-track fisticuffs. Miraculously Button emerged unscathed.

The same could not be said of Jarno Trulli and Adrian Sutil who tangled on the exit of Turn 5 collecting Fernando Alonso in the process. A heated exchange bordering on pub brawl between the Italian and the German ensued. Helmets stayed firmly on. Three less cars for Button to worry about between himself and Barrichello.

Kimi Raikkonen would also have been part of the buffer had he not had to stop for a new nose cone after a coming together with Sutil at the first corner. The Finn got more than he reckoned with after Heikki Kovalainen who pitted due to a separate incident with Giancarlo Fisichella drove off from his pit box with the fuel hose still attached, spraying fuel into Raikkonen’s pathway and triggering a small pitlane fire right in front of the Ferrari driver.

That is precisely the kind of ill-luck that strikes the champion-in-waiting in Sau Paulo, host to the world championship battle for the last five years. Today it seemed, Button was to be spared.

At the restart Button gave a formidable demonstration of why he is every bit deserving of his world champion status. Knowing that he had to finish within a four point striking distance of Barrichello, Button turned on the style and dispatched Renault rookie Romain Grosjean with a breathtaking pass down the inside of Turn 5, before making light work of Williams’ Kazuki Nakajima in the run down to Senna ‘S’.

Toyota’s feisty stand-in, Japanese driver Kamui Kobayshi, halted Button’s charge somewhat with some impressive defensive driving, but the Brawn driver again exercised patience by seizing his opportunity when it came ten laps later to get ahead of the Toyota.

At the front Rubens Barrichello, spurred on by his legions of fans that have so often been let down (Barrichello has retired from the Brazilian Grand Prix no fewer than eleven times out of seventeen attempts), was getting the hammer down. But as the lightest of the front-runners he was forced to put early and that dropped him back down the field behind Jenson Button who had yet to stop.

Then it all started to unravel for the Brazilian veteran. Unable to muster the same kind of pace he had managed on his first stint, the Brawn driver lost the lead to Red Bull’s Mark Webber and BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica who had both made use of a longer stint by setting blistering lap times out in front.

With Barrichello in third place Button only had to finish sixth to prevent the title being decided in Abu Dhabi.

Worse was still to come for the hapless Brazilian. With only eight laps remaining Sau Paulo dished out one last serving of ill-luck, and in line with tradition, Barrichello was forced to pit with a puncture, dropping to eighth place at the chequered flag.

Barrichello’s unscheduled stop promoted Lewis Hamilton to third place.

Sebastian Vettel, who went into the race with a small chance of taking the title fight to Abu Dhabi matched Jenson Button throughout the race and eventually leapfrogged the Brawn driver to take fourth place.

Kimi Raikkonen clawed his way back to sixth place ahead of Sebastian Buemi and the out-of-luck Barrichello.

Button meanwhile struggled to contain his emotions after achieving his childhood dream of becoming world champion.

“It’s really amazing,” he said. “After the last few races I’ve had this makes up for it. It was a totally awesome race, I’m world champion!

“It’s 21 years since I first raced a kart. I love winning, I never expected to be world champion in F1, because you think racing drivers in F1 are different from you. But I did it today.”

Button’s achievement comes after nine character building years in Formula One. The 29-year-old knows just how cruel Formula One can be better than most. After his impressive debut for Williams in 2000, he spent two trying years at the back of the grid with the poorly performing Benetton team before effectively being sacked by Flavio Briatore in favour of Fernando Alonso in 2003.

He took refuge with British American Racing in 2003 and the following year affirmed his place in Formula One with ten podiums and his first pole position.

Then it all started to go down hill again. He found himself embroiled in a contractual row and BAR blocked his planned move to Williams until the end of 2005. Two years later it would come back to haunt him as BAR were on the insurgence with Honda backing and he wanted to stay at the Brackley team rather than move to Williams who conversely had just lost backing from BMW.

The ill-handling Honda cars for 2007 and 08 saw Button entrenched at the back of the grid and then came the news that Honda were pulling out of the sport.

Having spent two years in the shadow of his Renault replacement Fernando Alonso and then Britain’s new star Lewis Hamilton, Button was left wondering whether he would have a drive at all.

Then Ross Brawn stepped into save the team, and the rest as they say is history.

In 2003 Flavio Briatore – now extracted from the sport for his involvement in fixing the Singapore Grand Prix – said of his decision to replace Button at Renault: “time will tell if I am wrong.”

Indeed it has Flavio.

Button clinches title in Brazil!

The rendition of We are the Champions that Jenson Button screeched to his team as he finished the Brazilian Grand Prix in fifth place to become the 2009 World Champion would have had Queen wincing; such was the combined effect of exultation and disbelief that played through in his croaky voice.

It came after an altogether more assured performance from the 29-year-old as he clawed his way from fourteenth on the grid to fifth, courtesy of some breathtaking passing manoeuvres under pressure, a searing pace when he needed it, and a little bit of champion’s luck, to become the tenth Briton to win the world championship – joining Mike Hawthorne, Graham Hill, Jim Clark, John Surtees, Jackie Stewart, James Hunt, Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill and Lewis Hamilton in the history books.

Button’s critics will no doubt point to the second half of the 2009 season – where having won six of the first seven races he began to race more conservatively losing points to the on-form Barrichello – as reason to question his place alongside the aforementioned greats.

But it was precisely that controlled aggression that had proved so pivotal in the second half of his campaign that enabled him to triumph in Sau Paulo where all around him others were falling off the track.

Rubens Barrichello’s title hopes were dashed by a puncture with just eight laps remaining, but by that time Button, who started fourteenth, had already clawed his way into sixth place.

Mark Webber took the race victory for Red Bull ahead of BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica and the strong pace from these two drivers pulled the trigger on Barrichello’s title dreams as the Brazilian faded in the second half of the race.

More to follow shortly.

Barrichello puts Button under pressure in Brazil

barrichelloBarrichello delights fans with pole in chaotic Brazil qualy; Button under pressure in 14th

Local hero Rubens Barrichello did everything that was asked of him by his legions of supporters and then some more as he stormed to pole position in a dramatic rain-delayed qualifying session for the Brazilian Grand Prix which claimed the scalp of his teammate and title rival Jenson Button.

Treacherous weather conditions at Interlagos on Saturday meant that it was nearly three hours before the grid was decided for Sunday’s race.

Barrichello took to the track for the final qualifying shoot-out safe in the knowledge that his teammate and title rival Jenson Button was out of the money in fourteenth place after Brawn left the Briton out on full wet tyres in Q2 instead of intermediates.

Barrichello traded laptimes with Mark Webber and Jarno Trulli before blitzing the damp Sau Paulo circuit in a 1:19.576 to clinch his first pole position in over four years – and give himself a perfect opportunity to take points off Button and put the Briton under pressure in the battle for the championship.

“It is a special time for me,” said Barrichello. “It’s obviously a great time when you go out and you have a balance, it doesn’t matter if it is wet or dry, just off you go. There were plenty of strategies, you never know what is going to happen, it was so variable. “I am so happy, it was a great drive and it may be that we have less fuel than them, but it’s better to start at the front and have my own race pace than towards the middle of the pack.

“I am very, very happy with this situation. It is great to see that all the people stayed to see it because they went through a heavy period of rain. I was expecting them to leave but happy they stayed to see it.”

“After so many years, after 17 in F1, I never got out of the car for a pee twice in the middle of qualifying! I am very proud of what we achieved today. We were on the borderline for Q2, we should have gone for inters but we were lucky enough to just make it.

“I knew car was competitive, like I said, I am keeping my feet on the ground because we have won nothing yet. We did fantastic today, it will be a great night and I will sleep, but we still have to get everything tomorrow.”

Mark Webber will line up alongside the Brazilian in second place, ahead of Force India’s Adrian Sutil and Toyota’s Jarno Trulli.

There was real doubt about whether the final qualifying shoot-out would even take place after heavy showers wrecked havoc with proceedings throughout the afternoon.

Heavy showers in the morning had already cut final practice short, and although the rain had begun to ease ahead of the all crucial qualifying hour, the drivers still had to contend with treacherous conditions as they hit the wet and slippery track and battled to generate heat into their tyres for their first flying laps.

It didn t take much to convince race control that the track was still too dangerous for the cars though. Q1 was stopped after only a few minutes when Giancarlo Fisichella aquaplaned off the track at the second Senna S.

It didn t take much to convince race control that the track was still too dangerous for the cars though. Q1 was stopped after only a few minutes when Giancarlo Fisichella aquaplaned off the track at the second Senna S.

When Q1 was eventually re-started, Nico Rosberg lapped quickest with championship contenders Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello sitting pretty in fifth and sixth place.

But it was the worst possible outcome for Sebastian Vettel who could only manage sixteenth after Red Bull Racing gambled on a dry car setup in anticipation of Sunday s race.

Parc ferme rules prevent the teams from changing the setup of the car between the end of qualifying and the start of the race. That gave the teams an additional headache going into qualifying since Sunday’s race is widely predicted to be dry.

Red Bull’s gamble proved disastrous for Vettel as the conditions worsened in qualifying. Despite his best efforts to wrestle his RB5 into Q2, the German driver could only muster a 1:25.009, over two seconds slower than pacesetter Kimi Raikkonen. He starts sixteenth.

McLaren also opted for a dry setup and that saw Lewis Hamilton engaged in a battle just to keep his car on the track, let alone produce a lap quick enough to progress to Q2. The Briton had a foray onto the grass and ended up eighteenth, behind teammate Heikki Kovalainen, but ahead of BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld.

Force India s Tonio Liuzzi was race control s hapless yellow canary in Q2. His VJM02 aquaplaned on the start/finish straight and careered into the outside wall, re-affirming the danger of the conditions.

After over an hour of waiting and several FIA track inspections, Q2 was eventually restarted against the backdrop of clear skies and improved track conditions.

Williams led the way once again by gambling on the intermediate tyres, which quickly proved to be the tyre of choice. But while others followed Williams’ lead by switching to the intermediate tyres, Jenson Button and Brawn made a grave error by staying out on the full wets. Button did his best to wrestle his Brawn car into the final shoot out but was unable to produce the same lap times as the intermediate drivers.

“At the start of the session I had way too much understeer in the car on that run, when the circuit wasn’t wet like it was in the first session,” Button told the BBC. “I couldn’t do anything with the car and on lap three the rears started going away so that was it.

“We made a mistake not putting the inters on at the end of the session.”

Once again the Briton will find himself perilously entrenched in the midfield when the lights go out for Sunday’s race, in fourteenth place. To make matters worse Button will be sandwiched by a raft of rookie drivers going down to the first corner with Kamui Kobayashi, Jaimie Alguersuari and Romain Grosjean ahead of him and Tonio Liuzzi immediately behind him.

1       Rubens Barrichello      Brawn           1:19.576
2       Mark Webber             Red Bull        0:00.092
3       Adrian Sutil            Force India     0:00.336
4       Jarno Trulli            Toyota          0:00.521
5       Kimi Räikkönen          Ferrari         0:00.592
6       Sebastien Buemi         Toro Rosso      0:00.674
7       Nico Rosberg            Williams        0:00.750
8       Robert Kubica           BMW             0:01.055
9       Kazuki Nakajima         Williams        0:01.098
10      Fernando Alonso         Renault         0:01.846
11      Kamui Kobayashi         Toyota          0:02.384
12      Alguersuari Jaime       Toro Rosso      0:02.655
13      Romain Grosjean         Renault         0:02.901
14      Jenson Button           Brawn           0:02.928
15      Vitantanio Liuzzi       Force India     0:05.069
16      Sebastian Vettel        Red Bull        0:05.433
17      Heikki Kovalainen       McLaren         0:05.476
18      Lewis Hamilton          McLaren         0:05.616
19      Nick Heidfeld           BMW             0:05.939
20      Giancarlo Fisichella    Force India     0:21.127

Brazil: Qualifying Update

Treacherous weather conditions at Interlagos have brought qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix to a halt as the teams and drivers wait to see if the session will be re-started.

Heavy showers in the morning had already cut final practice short, and although the rain had begun to ease ahead of the all crucial qualifying hour, the drivers still had to contend with treacherous conditions as they hit the wet and slippery track and battled to generate heat into their tyres for their first flying laps.

It didn’t take much to convince race control that the track was still too dangerous for the cars though. Q1 was stopped after only a few minutes when Giancarlo Fisichella aquaplaned off the track at the second Senna S.

When Q1 was eventually re-started, Nico Rosberg lapped quickest with championship contenders Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello sitting pretty in fifth and sixth place.

But it was the worst possible outcome for Sebastian Vettel who could only manage sixteenth after Red Bull Racing gambled on a dry car setup in anticipation of Sunday’s race.

McLaren also opted for a dry setup and that saw Lewis Hamilton engaged in a battle just to keep his car on the track, let alone produce a lap quick enough to progress to Q2. The Briton had a foray onto the grass and ended up eighteenth, behind teammate Heikki Kovalainen, but ahead of BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld.

Force India’s Tonio Liuzzi was race control’s hapless yellow canary in Q2. His VJM02 aquaplaned on the start/finish straight and careered into the outside wall, re-affirming the danger of the conditions.

The teams and drivers have been in limbo for over half an hour now as we wait to see if the qualifying session will continue. There are on-going track inspections.

Here is the current order from Q2:

1       Nico Rosberg            Williams                
2       Kimi Räikkönen          Ferrari         
3       Robert Kubica           BMW             
4       Kazuki Nakajima         Williams                
5       Rubens Barrichello      Brawn           
6       Jenson Button           Brawn           
7       Fernando Alonso         Renault         
8       Romain Grosjean         Renault         
9       Adrian Sutil            Force India             
10      Sebastien Buemi         Toro Rosso              
11      Jarno Trulli            Toyota          
12      Kamui Kobayashi         Toyota          
13      Mark Webber             Red Bull                
14      Alguersuari Jaime       Toro Rosso              
15      Vitantanio Liuzzi       Force India             

16      Sebastian Vettel        Red Bull        
17      Heikki Kovalainen       McLaren         
18      Lewis Hamilton          McLaren         
19      Nick Heidfeld           BMW             
20      Giancarlo Fisichella    Force India

Rosberg tops rain-hit FP3

Nico Rosberg topped the timesheets in a shortened 18-minute final practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prix as heavy rain continues to fall in Interlagos.

The final practice session had been scheduled to start at 1100 local time but a heavy deluge half an hour before the start of the session rendered track too dangerous for the cars to go out.

The rain gradually began to ease and race control announced a shortened 18-minute session, starting at 1142 to give the teams and drivers experience of the conditions ahead of qualify.

Heikki Kovalainen laid down a benchmark time of 1m31.716s which was smashed by Nico Rosberg as the two drivers traded fastest lap times.

The session was stopped with three minutes remaining after Romain Grosjean aquaplaned off the circuit at Curva do Lago and smashed into the barriers.

Rosberg ended the session in P1 on a 1.23.182 ahead of his Williams teammate Kazuki Nakajima.

Jenson Button was third quickest ahead of Fernando Alonso, Adrian Sutil and Sebastian Beumi.

Temperatures today will rise to a high of 23°C, and there remains a 60% chance of rain during qualifying.

1 Nico Rosberg Williams 1:23.182
2 Kazuki Nakajima Williams 0:00.650
3 Jenson Button Brawn 0:00.940
4 Fernando Alonso Renault 0:00.943
5 Adrian Sutil Force India 0:00.967
6 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 0:01.261
7 Jarno Trulli Toyota 0:01.677
8 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren 0:02.503
9 Nick Heidfeld BMW 0:03.221
10 Romain Grosjean Renault 0:04.028
11 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 0:04.616
12 Vitantanio Liuzzi Force India 0:05.253